Kanjurmarg emerges as likely alternative to Aarey Colony for Mumbai Metro-III car shed

Aug 12, 2015, 23:45 IST | A Correspondent

The committee that was asked to look for alternative sties for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Mumbai Metro-III car shed instead of the contentious Aarey Milk Colony, has suggested Kanjurmarg as best option

An expert committee, which was asked to look for alternative sties for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Mumbai Metro-III car shed instead of the contentious Aarey Colony, has submitted its report which suggests three other alternative sites, with Kanjurmarg emerging as the most likely possibility. The rport also states that if the depot isn't shift to Kanjurmarg, then a double-decked shed can be constructed at Aarey itself.

According to a MMRDA official, requesting anonymity, told mid-day, “Kanjurmarg is the only option as an alternative for Aarey, but if it’s chosen that would increase the project cost by Rs 1800-2000 crore. It would also mean that the authorities would have to extend the Metro line by 6 kms to join Aarey Colony and Kanjurmarg, which would result in the addition of a few new stations like IIT Powai to the route. The cost escalation may force the authorities to approach JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) for additional funds.”

According to a source, the committee has suggested that the authorities can build a double-decked car depot at Aarey Colony itself while cutting down on half the space if the Kanjurmarg option is rejected for whatever reason. The "double-decked" car shed will see the area being utilised shrinking from 30 hectares to 20.82 hectares, bu the cost of building the shed will rise by Rs 750 crore.

Locals and eco-warriors install a banner opposing the Metro car shed in Aarey Milk Colony. File pic 

MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan, who is also the Chairman of the expert committee appointed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to suggest alternative sites if any for the car depot, on Wednesday submitted the final report to CM.

A senior government official who did not wished to be named said, “We have submitted the final report to the CM where all the details have been mentioned. I cannot comment much on the report.”

In March, Fadnavis had appointed a committee of experts to find whether other feasible sites were available for constructing the facility. The report has been prepared after the committee visited the various sites that were suggested including the land in MbPT, Kanjurmarg, BKC and Kalina. It is said that the option of Kanjur Marg has been finalised as it is more convenient and without much problem.

In the second week of June, members from the Save Aarey Milk Colony movement met the technical experts of the committee at IIT-Bombay and made their opposition to the car depot at AMC clear.

The expert of panel includes UPS Madan, MMRDA chief, BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, principal secretary (Urban Development-1 Nitin Kareer, Director, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur Dr Rakesh Kumar, Dr Rashmi Patil and Dr Ravi Sinha, faculty, Centre of Science and Environment, IIT-Bombay, G R Madan, ex-general manager-Kolkata Metro and Balvinder Kumar, director, Delhi Metro.

Meanwhile, according to PTI, the Maharashtra government is likely to build the Metro-III car shed in the Aarey Colony despite the expert committee suggesting alternative sites.

A highly placed source in the Maharashtra Home Department said that the expert committee has suggested Kanjurmarg, Bandra Bandstand and Bombay Port Trust as alternatives to build the car shed.

"The expert committee have suggested three places, but it is not viable for us to build the Metro car shed at any of these areas due to logistics and cost issues. So, we will have to build the car shed in Aarey Colony itself even if we face protests," the official said, requesting anonymity.

He said that if protests over building the car shed in Aarey Colony intensifies, it would only lead to a temporary stalling of the project.

"If around 2,200 trees are affected due to the project, most of them could be replanted in other areas. Whenever highways are built, we have to cut a large number of trees in the name of development. This is development as well," the official said.

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